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The benefits to fishermen who take advantage of membership in the Oregon Fishermen's Cable Committee include the following:

  • Waiver of liability for damage to OFCC agreement-covered cables if the vessel follows the 'Procedures to Follow While Operating Near Submarine Fiber Optic Cables'.
  • Agreement of the OFCC member cable owners not to pursue criminal action against vessel owners and operators if they have followed the 'Procedures' and accidentally damaged the fiber optic cable.
  • Replacement of fishing gear when a vessel cuts away gear to protect a member cable. The OFCC has negotiated the creation of a Sacrificed Gear Fund account for the purpose of purchasing replacement gear as soon as it is available. The OFCC's goal is to get the vessel fishing again as soon as possible.
  • Upon approval of a claim, a check for one-half the dollar value of the replacement gear for the lost time, lost catch and gear work associated with a gear sacrifice that follows the 'Procedures'.
  • Eligibility for OFCC member vessels to enter future drawings to charter their vessel as a patrol/guard vessel during cable installation and repair operations. Charter rates are currently $57.50/ft/day to a max of $4,887.50/day. For those that are selected, 10 day charters are common.
  • Representation by an organization that works to protect the trawl grounds from uses that would limit access to the trawl grounds.

Benefits to Cable Owner Members

The Oregon Fishermen's Cable Committee (OFCC) is a liaison group comprising trawl fishermen and owners of submarine fiber-optic cables that land on the Oregon Coast. Its mission is to promote communication, coordination and cooperation between the fishing industry and the owners and installers of undersea cables in the Oregon fishing grounds. As a result of its outreach activities, cable owners and the commercial fishing fleet working off the coast of Oregon enjoy and engage in a relationship built on mutual respect.

A cable owner realizes myriad benefits by partnering with the OFCC. Foremost is the protection of the owner's asset, the undersea fiber optic cable. This is due to the Oregon trawl fishing fleet being perhaps the most "cable aware" in the world

Informed and Involved Fleet

The OFCC regularly holds port meetings along the Oregon Coast to educate the entire trawl fleet about new developments regarding undersea cables in the fishing grounds, safe fishing operation around cables, and to promote membership in the organization. These meetings have historically been well-attended.

When a fisherman signs an Individual Fisherman's Agreement (IFA) to join the OFCC, he agrees to comply with the Procedures to Follow While Operating Near Submarine Fiber Optic Cables, a comprehensive set of guidelines for fishing safely near undersea cables. In return, the IFA grants him protection from liability for inadvertent damage to member cables and assures him of timely gear replacement should he have to sacrifice his gear to protect a cable. Through this arrangement, the fishermen are motivated to stay informed about cables in their fishing grounds, and the undersea cables are treated with care and respect. An OFCC lottery for patrol/guard boats to assist during cable installations allows fishermen from the West Coast the opportunity to participate in the installation of member cables, creating a sense of "ownership" of the cables amongst the fleet. OFCC fishermen have notified boats that arrive from out of the area, advising them of the location of the cables and the recommended safety procedures for fishing near cables.

Excellent Installations

Another benefit to cable owners is the involvement of OFCC fishermen in the route planning and installation processes. OFCC fishermen have contributed their extensive knowledge of the seafloor during route planning and surveying. As a result, cable owners working with the OFCC have achieved a phenomenal cable burial record off the Oregon Coast. The OFCC has been involved in the route planning of nine undersea cables. As stated by Rob Munier, when he was Managing Director of Global System Sales for Tyco Telecommunications, Inc. in a publication for the attendees at the Pacific Telecom 2005 conference:

I think that the OFCC has been very successful in getting the highest quality sets of installations anywhere in the world because of the interactive nature and the obligation that we feel as people working together.

Ease of Permitting Process

Furthermore, working with the OFCC can further expedite Oregon’s streamlined permit process. Oregon State and Federal agencies have supported our collaborative process. Permits for fiber optic cable projects using the cooperative approach in Oregon have been issued in time frames of about seven months to less than two months, in one case.


Joining the Oregon Fishermen’s Cable Committee makes smart business sense for a cable owner landing in Oregon. OFCC membership enables the cable owner to enjoy positive, productive relations with a knowledgeable and informed fishing fleet. The involvement of OFCC members can facilitate an extraordinary burial rate in the cable installation. In addition, OFCC support can ease the permit process. To quote Oregon Governor Kate Brown:

Oregon has a long record of successful submarine cable industry projects, a highly developed telecommunications infrastructure, a workforce of skilled professionals for marine and terrestrial telecommunications cable installation, and unparalleled cooperation between its undersea cable operators, fishing industry, and state government.

As chair of the State Land Board, which approves easements for cable landings on the Oregon coast, I can assure you that we will welcome and give full and timely consideration to all landing requests. Please know that the Department of State Lands and the Oregon Business Development Department along with other involved state agencies will work in partnership with you, as an undersea cable operator, and Oregon’s fishing fleet to ensure the success of your project once approved.

Former Oregon Governor Theodore R. Kulongoski had said: "Working together is the best way to keep this unique partnership healthy and strong."

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